The False 9: Elimination Finals - Wanderers look to equal record shared by Roar and Victory

The A-League will have earned a reputation for stunning recoveries if Western Sydney Wanderers can win the championship from here.

Wanderers

Source: AAP



It would be the third time in the competition's 11-year history that a team had managed to come from second-last the previous season to win the title.

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Melbourne Victory rose from seventh in the eight-team competition of the A-League's first season, 2005-2006, to win the title the year after, while Brisbane Roar jumped from ninth in 2009-2010 to win it in 2010-2011.

Western Sydney finished ninth last season, just one point ahead of wooden-spooners, Newcastle Jets.

The season became a scheduling nightmare for them due to the combination of their success in the AFC Champions League and the one-month break in the A-League for the Asian Cup.

Quick back-ups and delayed games being crammed in, left the Wanderers a tired bunch and they never looked likely in the domestic competition in 2014-2015.

At the end of it all, there was a player clean-out by coach Tony Popovic and a vastly different-looking squad went into this season with only the A-League to worry about.

The result is Western Sydney now being just one home win away from a place in the grand final.

Don't believe me, just watch

After his two extraordinary goals for Melbourne City in their elimination final win over Perth Glory, the grooviest player in the A-League, Bruno Fornaroli, deserves the grooviest funkster going around, Bruno Mars, to sing a song just for him.

"Uptown, funk you up, uptown funk you up  . . "

 

Recount?

Professional Footballers Australia announced the goalkeeper nominees for the PFA A-League team of the season on Tuesday, as voted on by the PFA's A-League members.

No surprise that Melbourne City's Thomas Sorensen, Newcastle's Mark Birighitti and Adelaide United's Eugene Galekovic were there, but False 9 is sure the inclusion of Victory's Danny Vukovic will raise some eyebrows.

Vukovic is a terrific goalkeeper at his best, but this was an inconsistent season for him and towards the end of it, he was dropped for Lawrence Thomas.

Perth's Ante Covic is just one 'keeper you would have thought was more deserving of inclusion on this season's form, but, hey, we live in a democracy. 

Tweet, tweet #1

Western Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne turns on the charm at the club's fan day.

Tweet, tweet #2

Do you think 18 year-old Alex Gersbach is enjoying his life as a professional footballer overseas?

Tweet, Tweet #3

Tim Cahill, the human umbrella!



Kenny Lowe-isms

It was no surprise Perth coach Kenny Lowe copped it sweet when Melbourne City striker Bruno Fornaroli scored with a spectacular bicycle kick in the elimination final, which also saw the Uruguayan clip Glory defender Shane Lowry's head with his boot.

That's the sort of bloke Lowe is - never one to go desperately grabbing for excuses.

"It's there for him (Fornaroli) to go for, there's nothing wrong with that, and it's there for the full-back to go for, and there's nothing wrong with that," Lowe said.

"Then the ref needs to apply whatever law applies to the situation.

"But I don't want to harp on about that, they were the better team and they deserved it. So, irrespective of whether he has kicked someone in the head and scored, I'd be disappointed if my centre-forward hadn't done that, so no qualms on that front.

"Take that aside, they were the better side and they deserved the result."

How did that feel?

Pretty damn good to Thomas Broich, who showed there was plenty of life left in the 35 year-old yet with his late winner for Brisbane in their elimination final win over Victory.

Broich said he gambled with a run to the near post ahead of the corner arriving from Corona.

"I thought I had to do something different," Broich said.

"I saw space had opened up there. Usually it’s hard for the keeper to come out when the ball is delivered in there, so I was basically gambling.

"I just started the run and I was really determined to put it away as soon as I saw it was coming my way."

Broich said Roar can't afford to die wondering when they hit the road against Western Sydney in Sunday's semi-final.

"We can’t go away from Brisbane and go hiding," he said.

"We’re really good as a team when we play positive, front-foot football, and we need to bring that to the table on Sunday." 

Can't wait for . . .

The semi-final weekend should be the best weekend in football and there is no doubt how this weekend rates, with two classic match-ups.

Adelaide United are at home to Melbourne City on Friday night, as Aaron Mooy and Bruno Fornaroli try to find a way through the best defence in the competition.

Meanwhile, Western Sydney Wanderers play host to Brisbane Roar on Sunday. The Wanderers will be attempting to continue their rise from ninth place last season all the way back to what would be their third grand final in four years of existence.

You would be crazy to miss either game.


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5 min read
Published 19 April 2016 at 7:14pm
By Greg Prichard